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Italy

You can't do justice to Italy in just one visit.  Its beauty calls you back again and again.  However, this 13-day itinerary allows you to get a taste of the best Italy has to offer.

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6 (day trip to the countryside of Tuscan
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best of italy

Day One - Arrive in Rome

You are met at the airport by your private driver and whisked away to your hotel in Rome to relax.  Take a walk and explore this beautiful city.

Pasta is the quintessential dish of Italy. The word first appeared in Sicily in 1154 and has been perfected ever since. You are in for a real treat and will not only learn the art of pasta preparation but will also get to enjoy the meal you prepare.

This is a rare experience usually only had by those who know a local themselves. You will be invited into the home of a local chef who has a passion for sharing his knowledge. You will start from scratch and prepare three different kinds of pasta as well as three different kinds of sauce. Each has a different history, which you will learn, as well as proper pairings and cooking traditions of the region.

End your day with a full stomach, and a deeper affection for Italian culture.

Day Two - Explore rome

In the morning, visit some of the most stunning sites in all of Rome: the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica and avoid the long lines for Vatican entrance with your VIP access.

After lunch in a quaint restaurant, your driver will take you on a tour of Rome.  Visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Forum, and the other sites for which Rome is famous.  

After a day of exploring, enjoy another example of Rome's diverse cuisine as you dine and enjoy the Roman nightlife.

Day Three - Florence

Today you leave Rome and head to Florence.  You can take the train or enjoy the drive with your private driver.  

Once you arrive you will tour the intriguing city of Florence that boasts some of the best-preserved Renaissance architectural monuments in Italy. Walk its winding cobblestone streets with your expert guide and visit Brunelleschi’s Duomo externally, Piazza Della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria, Santa Croce with its tombs of Michelangelo and Galileo, and the Ponte Vecchio lined with centuries-old jewelry shops that are topped by the Medici families’ secret passageway. Shop at the leather market for local handcrafted items.

After a late lunch to experience Florentine cuisine, skip the line to see two of Florence’s top museums, the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery. Led by an expert guide, first pay homage to Michelangelo’s 'David' at the Accademia, heading straight inside with your priority access ticket. Roam the impressive collection of art before heading to the Uffizi Gallery. There, avoid the crowds again with your skip-the-line ticket and enjoy a guided walking tour, pausing at Botticelli’s 'Birth of Venus' and other Renaissance masterpieces. See the original statue of 'David' by Michelangelo plus his unfinished 'Prigioni' sculpture Learn about the history of the Uffizi Gallery on an afternoon walking tour See the famous 'Birth of Venus' and the Leonardo Room

 

Day Four - Pisa and Lucca

 

Depart with your driver through the Tuscan countryside and head towards the coast for a day of exploring Lucca and Pisa. Enjoy the walled medieval town of Lucca and walk along its cobblestone streets to visit its important piazzas and churches, then enjoy time on your own for lunch. Proceed to Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower, where you can admire it from the Piazza dei Miracoli or climb to the top fo (Note:  children under 8 are not allowed in the tower).

 

If you are more adventurous, explore Lucca like a local – on a bicycle.  Join your guide to wander down cobbled lanes and through pretty piazzas, passing by beautiful palaces with their wrought-iron balconies and historic churches with their intricate facades. Head into one of Lucca’s favorite delicatessens to grab a picnic lunch and maybe even a gelato. The “greenbelt” park atop the ancient fortified walls is the perfect spot for an al fresco meal and more tales of history.

 

Return to Florence for dinner.

 

Day Five - Tuscan Food and Wine

 

Our journey begins on the “Wine Road” that winds between olive groves and vineyards as we make our way through the beautiful countryside of the Chianti region to the town of Greve. 

Piazza Matteotti is a gently sloping square which is the hub of life in Greve. Around this square, under the graceful porticoes, you'll see many local shops and wine stores. The famous butcher shop Falorni has been in the piazza for 500 years! You're welcome to taste free samples of their products, including their delicious boar salami and prosciutto.

Next, we'll depart for one of the region's vineyards, like the magnificent Castle of Verrazzano, located on a hilltop between Siena and Florence in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine-producing area. First an Etruscan village and later a Roman one, the castle became the property of the Verrazzano family in the 12th century.

At the castle, we'll take a guided tour of the gardens and the centuries-old cellars. Keep an eye out for the wild boar that roam freely in the surrounding woods! Here, you'll have the opportunity to taste world-famous wines, as well as other products from the farm such as olive oil, salted meats, boar sausage, and other local delicacies

 

In the evening, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tasting experience with wines and cheeses specially selected by a sommelier and matched by the most traditional flavors of the Tuscan countryside.

Enjoy some of the many delicious tastes of the Tuscany region, including our great olive oils. The olive tree's roots are inextricably entwined with the culinary history of the region and this fascinating tasting is a voyage of discovery through the palette of Tuscan olive oils. Everything will be accompanied by a selection of Tuscan cheeses.

Sample Menu:
• 3 different types of Tuscan wine: Chianti Classico, a Pure SanGiovese, and a white wine
• 2 types of Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Unripe apple segments to use during the tasting
• Cheese (goat, sheep, cow; varies according to availability and combinations)
• Water

Return to your hotel and relax

Day Six - Cinque Terre and Portovenere

After breakfast, your driver will take you for a day of exploration in Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre, (the Five Lands), is located on the Poet's Gulf and named for its many famous bards, from Dante to Bryon. Begin in Portovenere, a small natural paradise only 20 minutes by boat from the Cinque Terre. Enter the small historic center by the medieval walls and walk along the "Carrugio," which, in Genoese dialect, means "small street." Come to the ancient Castello Doria and the Bryon cave, named for the old poet-navigator who inspired Richard Wagner's compositions.

Next, you are on to the Cinque Terre, five small ancient fortified villages inaccessible until some decades ago when a road was built. A thousand years ago the towns were built into the rocks by ancient people in order to defend themselves from barbaric invasions. These ancient people found refuge between the sea and the mountains, completely isolating themselves from the rest of the world, living on agriculture and fishing. Today, they still preserve their ancient enchanting allure. There are no cars and no noise, only nature. Except for Monterosso, home to 1,000 people, the population of each town is less than 500.

The Cinque Terre are connected to one another by sea, by train, and by trails along the coast. Once in Manarola, you can take the boat again to reach Vernazza, passing by Corniglia. Arrive at Monterosso, the last stop, where you'll find your driver waiting for you. Throughout the tour, you can stop as long as you like--eat the best fish in the world, sample the wine produced on the hill that surrounds the villages, revel in the incredible color of the sea and the sky.  Rejoin your driver and return to Florence.

Day Seven - Venice

Today you leave Florence and head to Venice with your driver or by train.  Once there, check in to your hotel and set out on foot to explore the "Queen of the Adriatic"  Wander through the narrow streets and over the hundreds of bridges.  You will find handcrafts, glass crafts, and gorgeous carnival masks in the many shops. Ride in a gondola through the canals and maybe cross an item off of your bucket list.

Before dinner enjoy a wine tasting in a typical "Osteria" (wine bar), chosen especially by your guide for the quality of the wines, the food products, and the genuine atmosphere. 

 

Day Eight - Venice/Murano/Burano

 

After breakfast, meet your private guide for a tour of the islands that make up the City of Venice.  Start with a private walking tour customized for you.  Whether you’re interested in architecture, local legends, or Renaissance art, your guide will make Venice come alive! Along the way, pop in at a local bar for a glass of regional wine and appetizers, and feel free to ask all the questions you like.  See notable Venice attractions like the Rialto Fish Market and the Cannaregio Quarter, as well as lesser-known sights. Sip on a glass of wine and eat an appetizer at a traditional Venetian bar.

Enjoy lunch at a Venetian cafe.  Then set out on a motorboat to discover three of the most beautiful islands in the Venetian Lagoon. See where the world’s finest blown glass is made in Murano, visit the home of artisan lace makers and famous biscuits in colorful Burano, and set foot on Venice’s oldest settlements in serene Torcello. 

 

Return to Venice for another opportunity to enjoy Venetian cuisine.

 

Day Nine - Verona and Lake Garda

 

After breakfast, prepare for a day of exploration.  

Many travelers never leave Venice to discover the delights of the surrounding region of Veneto. Your driver will take you to Verona for a guided walk through romantic Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet.  Have lunch at a countryside hamlet to sample local dishes. End your day on Lake Garda to explore the historic town of Sirmione and take a boat tour across the lake. 

 

Enjoy one final dinner in Venice and get ready for tomorrow's adventure.
 

Day Ten -Travel to Naples

This morning you leave Venice by train or with your driver and head to Naples. Relax at your hotel and then set sail with your sweetheart for an unforgettable voyage around the Isle of Capri on a private boat trip. Make lasting memories together as you cruise to spectacular sea caves and grottoes, including the famous Blue Grotto and lesser-known spots that swirl with mystery and romance. Learn the lessons and history of the island from an experienced local sailor, and stop to swim and snorkel in the clear blue water with provided equipment. 

Return to Naples and learn how to make a real Neapolitan pie with a pizza-making class. Discover the tricks of the trade from an expert pizzaiolo (pizza maker), mixing and kneading your own dough and selecting fresh ingredients for your toppings. Afterward, reap the benefits of your hard work and sit down to eat your creation.

Day Eleven - Pompeii and Amalfi Coast

After breakfast, your private, local guide will take you on a fascinating tour through Pompeii.  Once a thriving empire, the city of Pompeii had about 20,000 inhabitants in 79 AD, when it was completely covered in 30 feet of volcanic ash by the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Listen to your guide as he tells you the history of the city as you take in the baths, villas, theaters, and wrestling grounds.

After Pompeii, drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast,  Descend the winding one-way road that leads to the heart of Positano, a pretty village of seaside villas, covered in orange blossom and roses. Explore the busy central Piazza dei Mulini, connected to a narrow downhill path and some occasional flights of steps that lead to the seafront. Follow the streets to the shops selling ceramics, lemons, shoes, and "Positano fashion" clothing, and don't miss the lovely Church of Sant Maria of the Assumption, with its characteristic majolica tiled dome and bell tower.

Next you will reach the town of Sorrento, where you will experience spectacular views of the entire bay of Naples and the Island of Capri as the Amalfi coast road emerges from over the mountain cliff. There are plenty of opportunities to shop in Sorrento for wood, jewelry, and other handicrafts.  

Return to Naples in time for a true Neopolitan dinner.

Day Twelve - Return to Rome

After breakfast, return to Rome by train or with your driver.  

Eat and drink your way around Rome on an evening walking food tour of the city center and Trastevere. Learn about Rome’s cuisine through the ages, get tips for places to eat, and sample some of the finest food in town.  Enjoy dinner in a Trastevere restaurant, and don't forget your dessert of locally made gelato. 

After dark, your driver will show you the lights of the Eternal City, a fitting farewell to this amazing country.

Day Thirteen - Fly Home

Your driver will pick you up and take you to the airport in plenty of time to make your flight home.  

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Burano, Italy

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